An Air India pilot refused to allow Kerala governor P Sathasivam to board a Kochi-Thiruvananthapuram flight on Tuesday after he allegedly turned up late.
The governor’s office said he reached the airport at least 10 minutes before the flight was scheduled to depart at 10.40 pm from Kochi airport but the pilot bluntly told Sathasivam that he couldn’t be accommodated on the plane as passenger boarding was already over.
Officials accompanying the governor tried to intervene but the pilot didn’t budge, forcing Sathasivam to spend night at the state guest house in Kochi. He took a morning flight and reached Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday. The governor’s office said it has lodged a complaint with Air India and Aviation Ministry. AI officials are yet to respond to the incident.
The AI 408 flight was scheduled to take off at 9.15 pm but was delayed till 10.45 pm. As per the changed schedule, the governor reached the airport 10 minutes before the departure. However, airport authorities later said the flight took off even before the governor reached the airport.
Earlier this year, Union minister Kiren Rijiju was embroiled in a controversy after allegations that a family was ordered off a domestic flight so that he and his staff could have a seat. The flight was also reportedly delayed.
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was also criticised for allegedly delaying a flight carrying 250 passengers because a member of his staff mixed up travel documents.